Let’s face it, not everyone can afford three hundred dollars in REI camping gear so I have devised some crafts and activities that will give your family a ‘camp out’ experience and still leave you with savings for S’mores .
Pitch Your Tent: My son received this kids pop up tent for his birthday and it has taken us camping all over the house from the living room to the basement to the back yard. It retails for about thirty dollars on Amazon.com (https://www.google.com/search?q=kids+tents&oq=kids+tents&aqs=edge..69i57j0i512j0i457i512j0i390l2j69i60l3.7679j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#oshopproduct=gid:6186289359457396685,mid:576462554875274735,oid:6586489259955036080,iid:16527147357892107487,rds:UENfNjE4NjI4OTM1OTQ1NzM5NjY4NXxQUk9EX1BDXzYxODYyODkzNTk0NTczOTY2ODU%3D,pvt:hg&oshop=apv). It easily fits two kids plus their sleeping bags and pillows and has a hook on the top for a lantern.
You certainly don’t need to purchase a tent though. A rope between two trees with a blanket or tarp over it or a quilt over a couple of kitchen chairs makes a pretty awesome tent as well. My kids delight in stocking their tent with ‘provisions’ like nerf launchers, fake fishing poles, and plastic food.
Make Your Campfire: Once your tent is up, you’ll need to get your campfire ready. Our library does these really neat ‘grab and go’ craft bags. This one contained a clear plastic disposable cup, some tissue paper in red, orange, and yellow, and an LED candle. We had a great time gluing together our ‘safety bonfire’ and then ‘lighting’ it in the living room.
Color Some Crafts: Check out this link to print a camping themed search and find coloring page for free at Crayola. https://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/camping-search-and-find-coloring-page/
Toast an Indoor S’more: Resourcefulness has proven to me that you don’t need a campfire to produce a decent S’more. If we’re feeling really authentic, we toast them over the gas burner on the stove. This time I was feeling lazy, so we microwaved them; 18 seconds in our microwave produces the perfect fluffy s’mores marshmallow.
For the ultimate lazy experience, I found these S’mores flavored Oreo cookies at Walmart (see link below). They were decent, but definitely won’t satisfy your craving for the ewy-gooey marshmallows and melty chocolate of a real S’more.
Go on a ‘Hike’: Use the links below to go on a virtual ‘hike’ with these themed kid’s workouts on YouTube or get your mindfulness on with some Cosmic Kids yoga in the Forrest.
https://youtu.be/VykoLgfHeqo (This or That Camping edition kids workout)
https://youtu.be/VZyuwVyR7eE (Brain Break: Forest Chase workout)
https://youtu.be/2aje33UPixE (Cosmic Kids Yoga: Tallulah the Owl)
https://youtu.be/KAT5NiWHFIU (Cosmic Kids Yoga: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt)
https://youtu.be/L8eMSTZ1LbI (Cosmic Kids Outside in the Woods mindfulness yoga)
Wind Down with Stories Around the ‘Campfire’: Here’s some camping themed books that we found at our local library that we read around our ‘campfire’ in lieu of the ‘much too scary’ ghost stories of my childhood. I have included links to the free read aloud versions on YouTube in case you can’t find them at your library.
Fred and Ted Go Camping by: Peter Eastman was a nice easy read for my Kindergartener. Best friends Fred and Ted are polar opposites, but when they go camping together the one thing they can agree on is how to stick together to overcome adversity.
https://youtu.be/I4eEbzitYI0 (Fred and Ted read aloud)
Bailey Goes Camping by: Kevin Henkes. When Bailey the bunny’s big brother and sister leave him behind to go camping with their scout troop mom and dad come to the rescue. With a little imagination and a trusty blanket Bailey gets to go on his own camping trip without ever leaving his home.
https://youtu.be/TZVzpw-VBMQ (Bailey read aloud)
In Katie Woo: Katie Goes Camping by: Fran Manushkin we join Katie and her friends JoJo and Pedro as they go on a camping trip. Katie may not be the camping professional that she originally came across as but that doesn’t stop the three best buds from having tons of fun!
https://youtu.be/fw2ijRierbg (Katie read aloud)
In The Camping Trip by: Jennifer K. Mann we join Ernestine as she goes on her first camping trip with seasoned campers- Aunt Jackie and Cousin Samantha. Ernestine rapidly finds out that camping is a lot of hard work! Oh yeah, and she hates swimming in the lake, hiking makes her tired, she hates hot dogs, and sleeping outside in the dark is kinda scary. Overall a cute story for anyone who’s ever taken their kids camping for the first time.
https://youtu.be/-WsiLhxDNkI (Camping trip read aloud)
Enjoy your family’s affordable bug and bear free camping experience and have an extra S’more for me!